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KOGI: Dangote, govt clash over validity of land acquisition

AT least seven workers at Dangote’s cement plant in Obajana were reportedly shot yesterday during a faceoff between the state’s security outfit and workers at the plant.

The incident occurred during what was described as an invasion of the company’s premises at the behest of the state government.

According to a statement by the General Manager, Corporate Communications at the Dangote Group, Sunday Esan, the vigilante group was led by the state Director-General of Lands, Commissioner for Solid Minerals, and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Commodore Jerry Omodara (rtd).

Others were: Chairman of Kabba/Bunnu LGA, Chairman of Ijumu LGA and the State ALGON Chairman, Alhaji Taofeek; Senior Special Assistant on Job Creation, Mr. Dele Iselewa, and Chairman of Lokoja LGA, Alhaji Mohammed Dansabe.

Reacting, the government of the state said the Kogi State House of Assembly ordered the company’s closure after its investigation into the cement factory’s operation allegedly revealed that no valid acquisition took place for the company.

The state House of Assembly alleged that Dangote, upon invitation by the Assembly, requested more time but did not appear at the House to show any evidence to the contrary.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, while addressing journalists, said that pursuant to the constitutional authorities of the Kogi State House of Assembly, and upon petition by the people of Kogi State, an investigation was carried out on the acquisition of Obajana Cement Company by Dangote Group.

“It was found that no valid acquisition took place, as Dangote could not show evidence of what was paid as consideration for the acquisition.

“The Legislators invited the Chairman of the Company, Aliko Dangote, before the house for explanations but he failed to appear before the state Assembly, giving excuses.

“The House of Assembly, therefore, ordered the company’s closure pending when they present it with credible evidence of a valid acquisition.”

The Director-General, Lands, Kogi State, Nasir Ochi, who also spoke, said, “In this regard, the security agencies were directed to give effect to the resolution. Similarly, the various organs of Government were also informed about this resolution.

“By law, Kogi State House of Assembly can conduct investigation, order anyone to appear before it or produce any document. Failure to obey such summons may lead to the arrest of a Person who failed to appear.

“The Government of the State has an obligation to also respect and give effect to such resolution from the House in the interest of peace and security of the State, and to avoid anarchy or breakdown of law and order.

“In this regard, Dangote has an obligation to respect and also give effect to the resolution of the Kogi State House of Assembly to avoid any act of lawlessness.”

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